Recently I mentioned “spirituality” to a friend, to which they sent me a post “Religious, Not Spiritual: The Case for Religion” (which you can read at the bottom of my post):
My simple response is:
I have been researching, studying & practicing all the major world (Western & Eastern) religions & lifestyle philosophies for 34 years (yes, I was sent to religious schools). I consider myself both religious & spiritual. I can define spirituality.
It is a belief in Oneness: that one cannot only have a belief in God/Universal Love on a conscious level (through doctrine/mankind’s interpretations), but that one can actually experience Him/Universal Love directly on a spiritual/nonphysical/energetic level.
If you study the ancient texts, beliefs and rituals of all the traditional major world (Western & Eastern) religions/lifestyle philosophies, you will find that in fact their essence is one in the same. They all ultimately serve and worship the one and only God/Universal Energy — they simply have different ways of describing/naming Him/It.
Since traditional religious/philosophical texts are simply man’s interpretation – they are imperfect. Therefore, only by studying (analyzing, practicing, comparing & contrasting over time) all of the world’s great (traditional) religions et al…. will a person find that one sacred text/tradition will actually answer the questions whose answers were lost in another interpretation. Ultimately giving a person a less biased & more global understanding of God/Universal Omnipotent Energy. Once you have this understanding, everything makes sense – which is truly a great comfort.
Many religions ask for blind faith at times, but if other traditions have the answer to the questions you seek… Why be blind? This is the 21st century – not Medieval times. Only together – as one – do they answer the questions of: How does a person Love unconditionally? How does someone find light in their darkest hour? How can humankind, not only believe in God’s Love, but actually tap into it & feel it? How can I find love & peace?
Of course, you are quite correct when you say many people use the word “spirituality” as a politically correct way to say “religion” these days. However, if that instigates conversations like these – I say, “That’s wonderful”. The more we discuss, the better chance the more people will learn & understand religion & spirituality.
In fact, the direct experience of spirituality might actually be the modern panacea for traditional religion. For once you have a direct experience, you have not doubts. With this in mind, you shouldn’t slam the door in the face of spirituality – you should embrace it.
If you are (Western) Christian, and have a hard time digesting the thought that people claim to be spiritual. I suggest you start by studying one or two of the Christian Mystics, such as Saint Teresa of Avila and/or Hildegard von (of) Bingen. All the great Christian mystics considered themselves religious and spiritual as well.
But remember: ‘The Himalayas of the soul are not for everyone.’ ~ Bhagavad Gita
~always with love